The Little Sidewalk Café in Buenos Aires
Disclaimer: It’s all Paramount’s, this is just a bit of fun
Codes: J/7 (post Endgame)
Thanks: to xnedrabourne, since the title of her website gave me part of this idea and to Mercy for running her eye over it.
Day after day she sat. Each one was the same as the next. Sitting. Drinking. One cup of coffee after another - always black. The people passed by in an unending tide of humanity that she watched with distracted eyes. Each one of them had somewhere to go, something to do, someone to be with. She just sat alone, everything passing her by while her thoughts lay elsewhere. Her mind was light years away from that sidewalk café in Buenos Aires.
The café didn’t care that she had been there for weeks, taking up the same seat everyday. In fact her presence even attracted other clientele to that otherwise quiet part of the city. When they heard of the famous Starfleet captain who had taken up residence, they came to look, came to peer at that commanding yet lonely figure. Those onlookers never disturbed her solitude though. It seemed wrong to break her wistful contemplation.
And so she sat. Watching. Hoping.
Sometimes she would speak. To no one in particular, just to the café or maybe it was to the invisible fates. The café tables were always willing to listen without judging. So she would talk of how she had lost track of the days, how she didn’t care that they all blurred into one - one bland, non-descript day after another. She would speak of how she wished she had never heard a certain set of fateful words. The words meant nothing to the café, but to the captain they meant everything:
“…in the arms of her husband, Chakotay.”
For her every day had been lived in a daze since. Those seemingly innocuous words cast a great cloud over her thoughts – an unrelenting, unforgiving swirl of blackness. She had soldiered on as she had to, but as soon as she’d had the chance, she’d come to this café. It was one she had visited before, many years ago. It was a safe, secure place. The café was willing to be her haven, sheltering her from the past she wanted to forget. It welcomed everyone without question to its battered tables, warped by the countless days out in the sun and heat.
Then, one day, the captain’s monotonous routine was broken.
One day there was someone else; someone that dared to speak to her.
That person was a stranger to the café, but not to the captain. Their golden hair shone in the hot Argentinian sun. Every now and then a ray would catch a burst of metal that adorned the stranger’s face, reflecting off its shiny surface, sparkling in the light.
The stranger stood with hands clasped behind their back waiting for an invite that was not forthcoming. The captain was not pleased. She came to the café to be alone and now this person was impinging on that, blocking her view of the passers by.
At least the captain gave a good impression of not being pleased. The café knew otherwise. All the other people she had watched walking by, all the time she had been waiting for this one in particular. She had spoken of them on many occasions to the tables, the tall beautiful woman that held a thrall on her heart. The captain had imagined she would never see her again, yet now she was here like some apparition appearing out of the haze that wafted up from the steamy streets.
The other woman sat. A few sets of eyes turned, surprised to see the captain with company. Or maybe the sight of the graceful beauty sitting opposite her drew their attention.
Unperturbed by the captain’s reticence the other woman talked. As always the café listened, as did the captain for once. The other woman had been searching for the captain, wondering why she had disappeared. The captain was evasive, replying stiffly that she had wanted some time alone after seven years with the same hundred and fifty people. The tall woman pressed for more details and the two women’s words became increasingly heated, agitated, frustrated, before the younger woman called into question who exactly it was the captain was running away from.
Then there was silence.
A long, aching silence that enveloped them and the air around them, more stifling than the heat of the city in its intensity.
Until it was broken.
Broken by the full, red lips of the stranger. Broken by a few simple words that changed everything.
“I am not with Commander Chakotay any longer. I love you.”
There was silence once more. But this was not the crushing, weighty silence of before. This was a silence that revealed infinite possibilities.
Without a word the captain stood, took the other woman’s hand in her own and left the café for the last time. The café was now alone, but the captain was not.